In an alternate universe, the Babri Masjid verdict by India’s Supreme court would have created ripples globally. The Apex court has condoned the heinous act of razing the 16th-century mosque and the violence in its aftermath that claimed an upward of 2,000 lives (mostly Muslims). India’s descent to a Hindu-fascist majoritarian state seems relentless, unchecked, and well within sight. The Constitutional bench though acknowledged the destruction of the mosque as a wanton crime and remarked there’s no conclusive evidence that the mosque was built after destroying a Hindu temple. Curiously, the bench ruled in favor of building a temple on the premise that Hindus believe the site to be Ram’s birthplace. The court noted Muslims failed to provide evidence of exclusive ownership of the disputed site.
A cursory glance at the judgment and you know how flawed and fatuous the arguments appear. It is as if the Supreme court had two different sets of standards for either side where the onus of proof lay solely on the Muslim parties while the Hindus could freely weaponize their faith. The Apex court appears to have favored faith over facts.
India’s credibility as secular state teeters once you dissect this farcical ruling in the greater context of the polarized political climate, the military subjugation of Kashmiris and the state-sponsored ethnic cleansing of Bengali Muslims in Assam. A similar descent in any Muslim majority country (like Turkey) would have set the alarm bells ringing across Western capitals. The influential Indian lobby and the diaspora across Europe and North America ensure that any adverse reaction is swiftly shut.
Muslims across India are increasingly finding themselves besieged by a confrontational Hindu majority that believes the state in on their side. With organizations like the Nazi-inspired RSS virtually controlling the levers of power hard-line Hindus are emboldened. Though this isn’t some recent phenomenon, Anti-Muslim sentiment is the lifeblood that cuts across parties and social classes. When RSS-BJP and their minions were slaughtering Muslims in Gujarat otherwise ‘secular’ INC workers either participated in the orgy or gave covert support to the perpetrators of the genocide. Economic boycott and targeting Muslim businesses have been the RSS and VHP’s agenda. There are hundreds of online literature circulated by VHP on bleeding Muslims economically. Decades of a disinformation campaign by the RSS has turned the Muslims into a monolithic historical enemy for the urban Hindu middle-class. Islamophobia is so entrenched in the Indian psyche that hateful and often genocidal remarks are passed at the drop of a hat across offices and living room conversations. Young Muslims feel suffocated and are disillusioned; the promise of a free and secular society is a fleeting dream now.
The idea that prosperity strengthens democracy is being severely tested in India. The economic liberalization and a path to social mobility among smaller communities didn’t liberalize the society, instead, it has hardened communal passions. A quest for an imagined past built on binaries is sending the Indian society towards a path of authoritarianism and ethnoreligious nationalism.
The political future of Muslims is hanging in balance. Given that Dalits and many OBC communities have abandoned their parties for BJP and the Congress party appears to be fashioning itself into BJP-lite Muslims are staring at decades of political irrelevance. The Indian society, institutions, and polity have permanently shifted right-wards in face of Hindu assertion.
Mein Kampf continues to sell millions of copies. The near adulation for Hitler, Indians obsequiously associating themselves with the Germanic race speaks about the nature of alliance Indians are trying to forge with the white supremacists with the stated aim of weeding Muslims in their respective countries.
If anything, the state is testing waters. Now that they know the Hindu majority is desensitized to the persecution of Muslims, they would double down. The national registry of citizens would ensure millions would soon end up in detention camps. The fate of Babri Masjid means thousands of Muslims would eventually perish when the violent confrontation comes to Varanasi and Mathura.
For once, Muslims who parrot non-existent constitutional values would do well to remember that thousands of Muslims killed in Nellie, Bhiwandi, Bhagalpur, Gujarat, and Meerut aren’t just statistics.